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Best Practices for Storing Biological Samples

Best Practices for Storing Biological Samples

Jul 17th 2020

Each year, billions of biological samples are collected. After such samples are gathered, there is a period of time that passes before they are analyzed. To prevent the samples from degrading or losing their integrity, the proper storage of the biological samples is essential. By following best practices when storing biological samples, laboratory scientists can facilitate the most accurate lab results possible while also reducing waste and saving time by not having to discard poorly stored samples. To learn about key best practices for storing biological samples, continue reading.

Use correct storage temperatures

One of the most important factors of properly storing biological samples is to use the correct storage temperature for that specific sample. Depending on the sample that is gathered and how long it is being stored, it will likely be placed in a cold environment between -310 degrees Fahrenheit and 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

For samples that are being stored for a short period of time, refrigerated (35 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit) or freezer storage (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) are ideal for samples that aren’t stable at warmer temperatures. If the sample requires long-term storage, it is typically advisable to opt for ultra-low freezer storage (-112 degrees Fahrenheit) or cryogenic freezer storage (-310 to -238 degrees Fahrenheit) to prevent degradation.

In cases where the sample was fixed with a preservative, it may be stored in a room-temperature area. However, the DNA of the sample will likely degrade rapidly as a result.

Maintain a high level of organization

Another important best practice for storing biological samples in a laboratory is to maintain a high level of organization. Poor organization in the form of unlabeled samples or an overly cluttered storage area will often result in wasted samples which translates to wasted time and money.

To improve the organization of your biological samples, make sure to label them using a lab-grade marker or thermoplastic- and chemical-resistant label and include as much detail as possible. In addition, catalog your biological samples in a central location.

Implement redundancy

Losing all of your stored biological samples in the case that your lab’s refrigerator or freezer malfunctions can be detrimental. To safeguard your samples, it’s important to equip your storage system with built-in redundancy. Investing in independent temperature monitors and quality backup systems will alert you of temperature fluctuations and prevent your samples from deteriorating in the case that your storage system gives out or malfunctions.

At USA Lab Equipment, we offer a wide range of quality chillers and lab freezers for sale. To learn more about our competitively priced new and used lab sample storage options, contact us today.